Friday, February 10, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (2/10): Loon Lake Mountains Saddle Trail closed due to logging operations

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information


High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snow Report (02/09): The following report describes conditions as of Thursday, 02/09. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 28 inches (2.3 feet) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin and deeper accumulations at higher elevations. Snowshoes are required to be worn in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness when snow accumulations reach 8 inches. Microspikes and crampons are needed for traction on ice. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen – always exercise caution on or near ice.

Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract: The Loon Lake Mountains Saddle Trail is closed due to current logging operations.


Long Lake and Forked Lake (Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, Blue Mountain Wild Forest, High Peaks Wilderness): Ice coverage on Forked Lake and Long Lake is not safe or reliable. There is open water on Forked Lake, especially where the Raquette River joins the lake. DEC has received reports of snowmobiles breaking through. Long Lake is also open and soft in spots. Both are weakest at the confluences but unsafe all around.

General NoticesKnow Before You Go Graphic

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry page for more trip-planning resources.

Know Before You Go (02/09):

  • Temperatures & Conditions: Following a wind advisory today into tomorrow morning, weekend weather is shaping up to be mild. There is a chance of snow Friday, then skies are expected to clear for the weekend. Temperatures in the High Peaks region will range from highs in the upper-20s on Saturday to upper-30s on Friday and Sunday, with lows in the teens. These are forecast temperatures for base elevations – conditions will be more severe (colder, windier) on summits and at higher elevations. Carry extra layers, cold weather gear, and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Bring microspikes or crampons and snowshoes. If you find yourself unprepared for the conditions, or weather worsens, turn back to the trailhead.
  • Water & Ice Crossings: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or significant snowmelt. If there is precipitation forecast during the day, be mindful of how water crossings might swell between your first crossing and your return trip. Follow ice safety guidelines.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:59 a.m.; Sunset = 5:19 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.
  • Travel: Plan on arriving at your destination early and have several back-up plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full. Some seasonal roads may be closed for the winter season and not all parking areas are plowed. Check recent notices for road closure announcements.

Check the Weather: Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for select summit forecasts. Check both daytime and nighttime temperatures and remember that temperatures will drop as you gain elevation.

Be Safe in Avalanche Terrain: Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and all outdoor adventurers who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain should be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions. If you are planning a trip to avalanche-prone territory, research the route ahead of time and contact a local DEC Forest Ranger for specific safety and conditions information, or contact a local guide. Before going into the backcountry, be equipped with avalanche safety tools and knowledge, such as participation in an avalanche safety course. Learn more about avalanche danger, preparedness, and safety precautions.

Seasonal Roads: Many seasonal access roads are closed for the winter. Check the Recent Notices for specific closure announcements and be prepared to turn around and take an alternate route.

Snowmobiles: Visitors are advised to plan ahead and check local club, county, and State webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from average to above average for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended.

Safety & EducationWinter Hike Smart NY Poster

Whether you’re going for a hike, a ski, or out fishing, Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind.

Avalanches Do Happen in the Adirondacks

When you hear “avalanche” you might picture the massive mountains of the western United States or other famous ranges. However, avalanches can and do happen in the Adirondacks too. Avalanches occur when the stress of gravity pulling the snow downhill exceeds the strength of the snowpack and its ability to stay bonded together. Avalanche danger increases after major snowstorms and during periods of thaw.

It is important to know when you are headed into avalanche territory, how to identify avalanche conditions and signs of danger, how to minimize your risk, and how to rescue yourself and others in case of an emergency. Before venturing into avalanche-prone territory, take these basic awareness steps:

  • Know basic avalanche rescue techniques. Visit the National Avalanche Center’s webpage for more information.
  • Check the snow depth.
  • Check how much new snow has fallen.
  • Practice safe route finding.
  • Check the degree of the slope.
  • Check the terrain.
  • Carry basic avalanche rescue equipment.
  • Never travel alone.
  • Let someone know where you are going.
  • Do not be afraid to turn around.
  • Use common sense.

Visit DEC’s website for information on avalanche safety, including avalanche awareness, causes, safe travel techniques, and more.

Leave No Trace™Leave No Trace 2021 Partner Logo

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace™ to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks. Use proper trail etiquette to ensure an enjoyable experience for yourself and others and tread lightly!

Leave No Trace in Trees

This Valentine’s season, say “I love you” without the help of a tree. Though the love between you and your significant other may be eternal, carving hearts and initials into bark can lead to an early death for the tree. Tree bark is like our skin—it protects the living tissue inside the tree. Carving into bark creates open wounds that make trees vulnerable to fungal and bacterial diseases, insect pests, and other damaging effects such as limiting the transport of water and nutrients throughout the tree.

Instead of marking up the trees, mark the holiday by making your Valentine a handmade recycled card, cooking them a delicious meal, or simply spending quality time together in the beautiful outdoors.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

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